“We don’t need no education” ~ Pink Floyd
Or, as defined by my dictionary
Education (n): the process of acquiring knowledge and understanding
How much is it up to society to educate children? Is it merely for the parents or the teachers? Or do we all, as members of society, have a part to play?
If you don’t have children, if yours are grown up & now perhaps have children of their own, or if you are just out without your children for a space of time, how much do you consider your behaviour in terms of those children around you and what example you might be setting?
Recently I was crossing the road at a pelican crossing. On the same side of the road was a guy on his own and a woman with a small child. There was very little traffic and when said guy & I both saw the road was clear we started to cross. From behind me I heard the woman do the most enormous sigh and tut. The lights had changed by the time I got to the other side and that’s when she started to cross, small child held hand in hand.
Now, I don’t know if she explained the rules as regards crossing the road to this child, Green Cross Code as it is known to many of us, because I carried on walking. But I carried on walking feeling vaguely guilty. Were those few extra seconds really so important? I’m fairly sure I still waited a few minutes for a tube. Perhaps I could have waited and helped set a good crossing-the-road example? On the other hand, I could see it was clear, I was safe, why should it be up to me to wait to help to educate another?
Conversely, I worry when I see parents with small children not crossing the road in the right places or at the right times. ‘How will these children learn safety if you don’t demonstrate and explain it to them’ I fret inside my head, which I think makes me a terrible hypocrite.
It’s not just about crossing roads, of course. I don’t like people who drop litter but I daren’t correct their behaviour, unlike some. I have a colleague who is pained when she hears children swear yet has realised she lets fly foul-mouthed tirades about other drivers while her granddaughter is in the car. But how can we expect children to learn the examples we think they should have if we don’t set them? Is it ok to live life setting the example of do as I say not as I do?
Personally, if someone is at a crossing with a small child I now wait for the green man. Maybe it’s because I care or maybe it’s because I can still hear that ‘tut’ in my head.
Interested in your thoughts, as always. Drop me a line on a comment box-shaped postcard.